Staying competitive in manufacturing is a constant juggling act, and many companies struggle to maintain that balance of running their operations with as little waste and loss as possible. Now, with added pressure to meet more sustainability standards across all industries, many manufacturers are wondering how they can keep up.
Fortunately, adapting to cleaner and greener operations does not need to hurt the bottom line. On the contrary, there are surprisingly simple sustainability measures that do more than just polish your company’s image; you can actually boost your ability to compete and reduce your overhead with just a few changes. Here are just some ideas that will benefit almost any type of manufacturer or company that uses a larger facility to carry out their business.
Save What Goes Down The Drain
Greywater systems, also called sullage systems, are a type of self contained, scaled-down wastewater treatment. The system collects water from sinks, washing machines, and other drains with the exception of toilets. The water is then treated to remove suspended particles, pathogens, and other contaminants. After treatment, the water is stored for non-potable purposes, such as to flush toilets or for use in irrigation, heating, and cooling systems.
Many large data centers are using greywater for cooling purposes. These companies require a substantial amount of water to maintain operational temperatures. Using greywater instead of fresh water is part of sustainability measures but it also reduces water bills. For larger manufacturing facilities that use a lot of water in their processes, greywater can be a very cost-effective switch.
This principle can be applied to other requirements. For example, companies that use solvents and similar chemicals in their processes can reduce overhead costs with solvent recovery. Solvent distillation systems will take contaminated solvent and, through a solvent recovery and recycling process, distill the solvent so that it’s comparable with new, out-of-the-bottle chemicals—and can be used in the same manner. Industrial solvent recycling systems and similar waste treatment setups can save major costs at the front end of their process and also reduce time, labor, and liability by producing less hazardous waste.
Generate Your Own Power
Many homeowners have come around to utilizing solar power to reduce their energy bills, and some manufacturers are catching on as well. Large industrial facilities with flat roofs can be very accommodating to solar panels. Additionally, large companies can utilize parking lot and garage spaces to install solar panel overhangs, which provide vehicles with shade and employees with protection from the weather.
While solar panel installation can be a considerable investment, the returns gained through power production are considerable, especially for manufacturers that use a lot of electricity to run their equipment. Depending on the number of solar panels installed and the average energy requirements of the operation, it’s possible for companies to cover the entirety of their needs.
Start Smaller And Smarter
Solar panels and wastewater treatments can amount to leaner, greener operations, but they also require notable investments. Even if the benefits are clear, some manufacturers may not have the flexibility to implement these changes in the short term. Fortunately, there are small, relatively low-cost updates that, once implemented, can help reduce overhead costs.
One method is replacing old fluorescent, incandescent, and halogen lights with LEDs and smart light fixtures. This update may seem small, but in a manufacturing facility where ample light is integral to operations, a switch over to more efficient, longer-lasting light sources adds up fast.
Another simple but effective method for reducing energy costs is taking care of machinery and equipment tune-ups. This applies to more than just heavy manufacturing machinery; updating old computers, printers, and other hardware, and cleaning and updating HVAC and other systems can greatly alleviate cumulative drains on company overhead. These small but smart adjustments should not be passed up.